Forest Chapel

“Place is found by walking, direction determined by weather and season.”
- Andy Goldsworthy, from Hand to Earth

The Forest Chapel was a proposal for a visitor center and site office planned for Better Place Forests, America’s first spreading forest. A spreading forest is a permanently protected forest where families can spread the ashes of their loved ones under private family trees. BPF’s first forest is opening in 2018 in a redwood forest in Mendocino County, California.

The Forest Chapel provides a space of calm in a setting of natural beauty that allows for family and friends to visit, cope with loss, heal, remember and celebrate loved ones. Located in a clearing overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the design uses a simple strategy of framed views to reconnect the visitor with the site while providing a protected space for gathering and reflection. Designed for construction at the Mendocino location, the concept is also a prototype for future spreading forests where the number and configuration of models can be adjusted for programmatic or site constraints.

You can learn more about Better Place Forests and their vision at their website:

Project completed by Min Day – Kristen Smith involved as Project Designer.


Better Place Forests


Point Arena, California


Visitor Center


1200 SF




AIA Nebraska Honor Award, Unbuilt
AIA Central States Merit Award, Unbuilt

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